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  • Writer's pictureJim Smith

Fall Newsletter, 2017

Fall 2017

In this Newsletter… A pension application from Tan Sisco An Except from the Revolutionary War in the Hackensack Valley From the Desk of Shanahan From the Camp Kitchen English Monetary System Book Recommendations Petition of Peter Wilson


Part of Nataniel (Tan) Sisco Pension application

State of New Jersey Bergen Common pleas

State of New Jersey    } Bergen County    } ss

   On the 31st day of October 1832, personally appeared in open Court before the Judges now sitting, being a Court of record as constituted by the laws of the State of New Jersey. Tan Scisco, aged seventy years next May, a resident of Pompton Township in the County of Bergen and State of New Jersey, who being first duly sworn, doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed the 7th day of June 1832.    That he entered service of his Country at Hackensack in the State of New Jersey under Capt. Outwater the 1st of Jany. 1781 in the State troops and served one year as will appear by the discharge of Capt. Outwater the 1st day of January 1782 – was stationed to guar[d] the lines from Acquackanonk, to Hackensack, Fort Lee and Closter on the north River.  Was engaged with British refugees at Munoukee in Bergen County.  The Enemy had come up the Hackensack river to Munaukee point, to plunder the Inhabitants – here a battle took place in which the Enemy was routed, and about twenty head of cattle retaken.  The enemy lost seven men killed and one prisoner.  Our Company had a number wounded, among which was John Lozier, shot through the thigh.

   Was in a battle at Fort Lee on the north river, Paul Ruttan, Daniel Banta and Peter Van Voorhies badly wounded – took two prisoners – a Lieutenant and one soldier.    Directly after being disbanded by Captain Outwater, I enlisted for one year under Capt. Peter Ward, and served the whole term of my enlistment – did not receive a written discharge – officers Capt. Ward, Lieut. Catterlin and Ensign Van Brick – served at Hackensack, Fort Lee and along the lines to Closter on the north River – had a Skirmish with the British at Pamrapo, near Bergen Town – and another in Bergen Woods.  Was discharged on about the first of Jany. 1783.    I hereby relinquish every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present, and declare that my name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any State.    The said Tan Scisco further saith that he lives remote from any Church and cannot obtain the certificate of a Clergyman to whom he is known.

                                   his                             Tan  X  Scisco                                   mark

Sworn & subscribed to in open Court the day & year aforesaid             Abr: Westervelt Clerk

The Revolutionary War In The Hackensack Valley:

In the chapter on 1778: “Peter Wilson…was a member of the New Jersey legislature throughout the war, an office he accepted at the bidding of men like himself who were willing to come to the polls at the risk of a rope around their necks or starvation in Sugar House.  At one such election, with the British two miles away at New Bridge, seven Hackensack voters appeared, electing Wilson, John Outwater, and Isaac Blanch to the legislature, Peter Harding to the council, and Adam Boyd to the post of sheriff.” Page 154.  It seems Outwater was a state legislator while being Captain. 


From the Desk of Shanahan

Glenn recently sent out an email advising the membership that he was appointing me as “Provost Marshall” in charge of recruitment, and “authenticity” in uniforming and camp life.  I want to calm any fears that some thread-counting, brash, dictatorial jerk has been unleashed in the unit. I assure you, I never count threads! When the officers met for a mid season executive meeting, three things kept coming up in our discussions: the lack of participants at events, the need to upgrade clothing and eliminate anachronisms in camp, and the need for additional members.  We have a mission to portray the common soldier of the Revolutionary War and to educate the public.  In order to succeed, we all need to be quality re-enactors; active re-enactors; enthusiastic and knowledgeable re-enactors.  We need to look good, act well and actively teach.  It’s what we do.  Otherwise, we are just camping in funny clothes.  Let it be said of us what is said of the men at Concord: “We knew what we were about.” Our unit will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019.  It sounds like a long way off, but it is not.  We want to make a big deal of this milestone.  We want to maintain our place as the premier militia unit in the country.  Others will be looking at us..maybe even potential members.  We want to do honor to the bravery and memory of John Outwater and his men. 

New things are going to be introduced.   Fun things that will make our outings more exciting and enjoyable.  But the best thing YOU can do is look at your kit (“kit”=clothing, weapon and equipment).  I am sure you have already know of things which can be improved or updated.   Work on it.  If you need something or advice tell me or someone else in the unit.  Jim has plenty of free linen available for you.  Don’t buy clothing from Townsend.  Before you lay out large sums of money, check with me. If you buy it, and it isn’t right, you will have wasted your money.  

I will probably wind up talking to everyone, one at a time, out of earshot, about your kit or persona.  Please don’t take it the wrong way.  No one of us is perfect, including me.  I’m going to make suggestions and find out what might be in your way.  I’m going to see if I or someone else can make it easier for you.  We are all going to work together on this and I promise not to be rude, demanding or even confrontational.   But I, and the unit, need your cooperation in this effort, or we will fail.  All for one and one for all? I would like to hold a School of the Militia this spring.   The purpose would be to discuss our kits, our clothing, weapons etc.  Each of us should have an idea of what we can work on over the winter to upgrade our appearance.  If we all make it a priority to attend, and work at it, we will march out in the spring really looking like something beyond ordinary.  More to come.

If you haven’t read the research on Outwater’s Militia, you should. It’s on the web site. If you haven’t read The Revolutionary War in the Hackensack Valley, do so before the spring.  You won’t regret it.  Outwater’s was a little different than the other New Jersey Militia units.  See if you know how.  We have to know who we are before we can re-enact it.  Make sense?

Finally, about recruitment: if you know someone who is interested, or who is always talking about re-enacting, invite them to an event or even to the School of the Militia.  Let me know they will be coming.  I would love to hear your thoughts on recruiting, especially where to find people interested in the Revolutionary War to the point of wanting to make it a hobby.  We can’t stand still. 

If you have any ideas, problems, concerns or protests, please feel free to talk to me. Together, with a little work, Outwater’s will be known as “The New Jersey Militia”

Yr. Svt, Bob Shanahan


From the Camp Kitchen –

They say an army marches on its stomach, and Outwater's is no different. While at major events, we try very hard to cook authentic 18th century recipes, using 18th century methods, using what is in season, like our fore mothers and fathers would have done. For the recipe this month, I decided to share a unit favorite - Olie Bollen. This doughnut type pastry has been part of Dutch cuisine dating back to times well before the 1700's.

In her book, Food, Drink and Celebrations of the Hudson Valley Dutch, food historian and author Peter Rose discusses this deep-fried delicacy in depth, noting that both the name and recipes have changed over the course of the last 300 or so years. There are many recipes available for Olie Bollen, and the one below is my favorite. Note that it does not use yeast, like many other recipes do.

Olie Bollen


•    3 Cups flour, an •    3/4 cup sugar •    1 tsp baking soda •    1 tsp baking powder •    1/2 tsp salt •    2 eggs •    1 1/2 cups buttermilk •    Raisins, or other dried fruit, if desired.

Directions: •    Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, making sure to stir out all the lumps •    Add dried fruit, and mix thoroughly to distribute throughout the batter. •    Fry them by the teaspoon full, dropped in hot oil until they're golden brown. •    Roll the finished Olie Bollen in either powdered sugar, white sugar, or my favorite, cinnamon and sugar, while they're still hot! •    Enjoy!!!

Your humble camp cook,



The British monetary system in the 18th Century.

There are 4 farthings in 1 pense, 12 pense in 1 shilling, and 20 shillings in 1 pound. A guinea is 21 shillings, or L1. s1. (1.1.0), and there are 4 crowns in a pound (1 crown being 5 shillings). A half-crown, therefore is s2.d6, or 2 shillings, six-pense.

With this knowledge, we can convert pounds into shillings, shillings into pense, & pense into farthings.


Some Book Recommendations from Bob Shanahan:

#1 MUST read for everyone in our unit: The Revolutionary War in the Hackensack Valley, by Adrian C. Leiby

#2. Washington’s Partisan War, Mark Kwasny (tells you the truth about militiamen)

# 3. Private Yankee Doodle, Joseph Plumb Martin.  Martin wrote this after the war. He was in nearly every major battle.  Life of an ordinary soldier.


Petition of Peter Wilson and Note Attached of John Outwater

[New Barbadoes, September 8, 1781 ]

 May it please your Excellency

The perilous Situation of the frontiers of this County has induced me to make this Application to your Excellency at the Request of the Inhabitants, that a part of the Militia of the State should be called out to the Assistance of the twelve Months Men stationed here for the defence of the County. This Measure has become the more necessary as the few Men who were raised for a Year are reduced in Number by Enlistments into the Continental Army. One hundred & twenty Men were designed for the Protection of this Frontier, not above one fourth Part of which are now on duty here, while Closter which is also very much exposed, is entirely open to the Depredations of the Refugees, who are indefatigable in making nocturnal Expeditions for Horses, Cattle, & Prisoners.(1) On the 9th. of August they carried off fourteen Prisoners & a very considerable Number of Cattle & Horses-the greater Part of the Stock they were obliged to quit, but the Prisoners were safely lodged in the Sugar House, and on the 30th. ult. they made another Attempt upon this Quarter but were forced to leave all the Cattle & Horses they had taken, & in Spite of the Fire of their Gun-Boat, & Grape Shot to make a precipitate Retreat with the Loss of three men killed, & 6 or 7 wounded two of whom, one of them the Capt. of the Gun Boat, are since dead, some of the Others dangerously wounded, and one taken prisoner. Capt. Outwatcr who commandcd the Year'.s Men & Militia of the Vicinity who turned out On the Instant, had one man wounded thro' the Thigh, & two others slightly scratched. A small party of them succceded better at Closter last Wednesday night the 4th. Instant having carried off 10 head of Cattle & 4 Horses, & taken five white Men & a Negro prisoners. One Cole,(2) of the Militia of that Neighbourhood, who had deserted to the Enemy a few days before was their Conductor.  The Militia of this County have done so great a Surplus of Military Duty that I could wish, if the Governor's Ideas coincide with mine, to have one Class from one of the Regiments of the County of Somerset, & one Class from this  County called to our assistance, to be Stationed at this Place & at Closter. I am with the greatest Respect your Excellency's very humble Servant

PETER WILSON [Bergen County, September 10, 1781 ]

I am Parsaonelly Acquainted With the General Desire of the Publick, In Regard to An Augmentation of the Guard, On this frontier, Your Excelency I Am Convinced, Wants No Information, In Regard to the Situation of this County from Your Parshaonel knowledge of the Strength of the De[ . . . ] under my Command, & Capt. Demarests (3) at the Bridges, You take the mater In Your Serius Consideration & Grant the Above Request. I Am With the Gratest Respect Your Excellency's most Obedient & Very Humble Servt.



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